Monday, October 4, 2010

The Whirlwind

On May15,our sweet Madelyn was born. Two days prior to that, I noticed it beginning to “rain” in my life. This “rain” was the onset of a “whirlwind” that was soon to make itself very apparent in our lives. This is when I started to feel shortness of breath. I mentioned this to the nurse after Maddie was born. She said, “Hmm, well, you’ve been pregnant, and you’ve just had a baby, that would make anyone short of breath!” Well, this condition never got better. I figured I was tired, anemic, still had too much fluid—anything with a simple explanation. Finally, after 2 ½ weeks, I called the doc and told him I just wasn’t getting any better. He said to come in the office, he would check me into the hospital and we would find the problem.
On June 2, I checked into the hospital and after a few tests, the doctor determined that I had a disease called choriocarcinoma or GTN (gestational trophoblastic neoplasia). That is, multiple cancerous tumors in my lungs and liver. These tumors came from abnormal cells produced by the placenta during pregnancy that travelled to those organs. I was told that the condition was very serious, but the cure rate was very high. My doctor had already selected an oncologist for me. This oncologist is rated the top in the field of gynecologic oncology in the nation, and he agreed to take my case.
This is an aggressive cancer, so they expected it to respond to aggressive treatment. Surgery was not an option, so we started chemotherapy the very next evening. The tumor load in my lungs was very heavy, and my condition began to deteriorate rapidly. A little more than 24 hours after the first treatment, I went into respiratory arrest. I had to be intubated, and I coded 2 times. A pulmonologist was called on my account, and he stood by my bed for nearly 3 hours keeping me alive (with God’s guidance, and your prayers!).
Thus began entrance into the whirlwind. There were many miracles that took place over the next 3 weeks that I will probably muse about in later posts. The hand of God on my life has been an incredible new awareness for our family. One of the most obvious miracles, though, is Madelyn Grace. This disease, though rare, is likely to occur in the onset of a molar pregnancy. If the baby is able to develop, there will probably be many deformities. Madelyn, though, is perfectly developed with no crossover of the disease. I have always marveled at my babies and their beauty—especially after little Robyn was stillborn, but the miracle of Maddie is absolutely amazing!

Textbook Delivery

No, I’m not talking about getting school books in the mail; I’m talking about labor and delivery, babies being born, Madelyn’s birth experience. This was one right out of the textbooks! The only hitch that I know of was the fact that I had tested positive for strep B and had to take an antibiotic. Ideally, Madelyn needed to wait 4 hours after that medication was administered to be born so she wouldn’t have to undergo a few extra tests. So, that day, I was concerned about a few things, had a few random contractions, took a few laps around the mall, and called the doc to see if I could come in to listen to her heartbeat for awhile. He said, “Sure, come on up!” I went on up, got strapped to the monitors and went into labor, just like that! The nurse felt sure things would continue nicely, and gave her opinion to the doc. He came in and concurred, and the ball started rolling in the right direction just like they teach in the textbooks! The nurse gave me the antibiotic at 6:25 pm and announced that she would like for the baby to be born after 10:25, but before 11. After 10:25 because of the medicine, and before 11 because of the shift change and she wanted to be there for the delivery!
(The birth announcement that never got printed or mailed out!)
And that, folks, is exactly what happened! God blessed us with a very smooth, uneventful labor and delivery of a beautiful baby girl. She was born at 10:32 pm—much to Amanda’s (my nurse) delight. She weighed 7 pounds and 3 ounces and had red hair! Her lungs (which were a concern 2 days prior) seemed to be in excellent shape! Our loving heavenly Father knows what lies in store for us. I get teary-eyed when I think of His goodness to me. It seems as though He stepped in and gave absolutely no room for the enemy to do any dirty work right here because He knew what was right around the corner for us. I had a very sweet 2 ½ weeks to get acquainted with my precious bundle. There were some adjustments that are typical to getting acclimated to having a newborn, but my only real concern was my shortness of breath that never would get better. You couldn’t ask for a sweeter baby. We are so proud of Madelyn Grace Snodgrass!